The following story was written by Jamee Eslicker, who recently joined our Student Ministry Team. As become a church where people Connect, Grow and Love, we couldn’t help but share this story of connection!
It’s always easy for us to recognize who is on the outside. We can look at a group of people and immediately pick out the straggler, the invited-out-of-obligation, the one who tags along and probably isn’t keyed in to the inside jokes. Maybe it’s because it’s something we can all relate to. We’ve all been there at some point in our lives, and we remember what it felt like. Probably because it hurt.
One girl in our youth group used to fit that description quite well. She tended to hang to the back during group activities. She seemed very out of place. She was left out of a lot of the fun—not out of cruelty on behalf of her fellow students, but because that’s just the way things were. And something like that is hard to change.
This last week, though, I saw evidence that a transformation has taken place. This same girl ran alongside the others during chaotic games and activities; she was a loving and loved member of the herd, and it was very obvious for all to see.
This transformation is the face of God showing up in our youth group. That movement from isolation to inclusion is, by definition, the story of what God wants for all of us. This wasn’t my doing, or Jeff’s, or any one person’s. The change took place as a consequence of the interaction between our group and the work of a loving God amidst us. This event may seem like a small thing, but to this girl I’m sure it is no small thing. In fact, it is probably everything.
Where do you see the movement from isolation to inclusion in your life? What about in the lives of people that you love? Do you recognize the face of God?
By Jamee Eslicker